Bistro Sixteen82 China plates to share

Last month we visited Bistro Sixteen82 for their Italian ‘small plates’ – eternal fans, when Chef Brad mentioned that China was on the cards for July, we booked almost immediately. Italy was great, but China? China was exquisite.

After a week of traveling, we arrived home rushed and ravenous- and headed to the Bistro almost immediately. We were early for our booking (naturally) and arrived between lunch / tapas changeover in the kitchen. We ate bread (delicious) and the singularly most delicious cheese platter I’ve ever encountered.

Starting with cheese? Yes, we were rebels – starving rebels. With a creamy, nutty blue cheese, a Camembert that was almost running off the plate, moreish lavash, warm candied walnuts and a sweet pickle dip, we were on the verge of ordering another. Hunger knows no bounds. Our previous visit was warm and cosy – this Saturday afternoon saw streams of sunshine coming through the windows – sitting on the verandah with a glass of bubbly and a beer, it was a great start to the evening.

Then, the feasting began in earnest. I, with a glass of the Bordeaux style ‘Echo’, and the lovely man with their Nebbiolo. We ordered all our dishes at once (it was the hunger speaking) – and our selection was unanimous : crispy duck pancakes, braised short rib, pork belly, pork dim sum and the standard beef tataki.

The duck arrived separate to its pancakes – to be assembled at the table. Soft and shredded in a sweet sauce, it was accompanied by shredded spring onion and a large piece of duck crackling. As most of the dishes are served in odd numbers, if there are two of you dining, you may need to pull rank on who wants the third (I let Luke have this round, while I stole the last pork dumpling).

The short-rib was tender, in a rich sauce flavoured with star anise and served with a small ball of rice – forks flew quickly. The pork belly was the tender variety (and not the crispy variety) – but definitely no complaints. Soft, rich, sticky nuggets will always go down well.

Perhaps the dish I was most excited about – the pork dim sum – har gau. These little bread dumplings are difficult to find on a menu, and I was thrilled to see them at the Bistro. Soft, steamed buns filled with a sweet mixture of pork and gravy, they are, in my mind – the ultimate Chinese comfort food.

The beef tataki was always going to be on the menu – our signature Bistro dish – drizzled with a little ponzu dipping sauce, it was perhaps even better than ever. Happiness.

We enjoyed our meal as guests of the Bistro. All images and views are my own.

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